PRELUDE TO SCIENCE by Richard F. Smith


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A pleasant informative excursion into the origins and vagaries, past and present uses of the ""pseudosciences"": magic, oracles, astrology, Tarot, the Kabbalah, I Ching, etc. Smith writes amusingly of those imaginary lines separating science from ""non science"": ""Just remember that for the past two centuries the actual boundaries of science have been no more stable than Poland's:"" He is sarcastic about academic categories: ""An article on rococo art. . . is likely to contain more scientific thinking than the latest chromatographic analysis of pea protein published in a biochemical journal."" Then follow analyses and descriptions of the various sources and impact of the pseudosciences, with the claims of adherents and the attacks of critics. Throughout there is Smith's lively and sane commentary. After burrowing through to some of the inherent inanities in astrology, for example, he finds a positive side: ""...a crude, d0dt.yourself psychotherapy. It gives people an excuse for thinking about themselves for hours at a time."" For those who wish to know the ground rules for current bell-book-and-candie enthusiasmsan entertaining and useful guide.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1975
Publisher: Scribners